John Fred Phillips(1928 - 2014)

John Fred Phillips

Des Moines

John Fred Phillips, 86, died peacefully Monday, March 24, 2014 in Des Moines. A committal service with military honors by the Marines will be held at 11 a.m., on Friday, June 27, at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery in Adel.

John was born and reared in Chicago, the son of Ferdinand and Florence Burck Phillips. He attended Loyola University before joining the Marines at the end of World War II and for a second tour of duty in Korea.

He and his wife, Jessica Richardson Phillips, moved to Des Moines, where John earned his bachelor and master's degrees from Drake University. He taught in the public school system at both North High and East High for over 30 years, earning top teaching awards in American History and economics at East High School.

During John and Jessica's 54-year marriage, they traveled extensively, collecting coins, stamps, crystal, and art. John was a voracious reader and could recall the most interesting details of U.S. Presidents. He worked The New York Times crossword puzzles in ink. He kept the family stories and infused them with his wit and humor, and he loved it when his great-niece beat him fair and square playing Uno. Each summer, he tended a large vegetable garden and along with long-time friend, Mary Kay Conley, canned the harvest under the moniker The Klutz Kannery. He also had a flourishing ceramics hobby, complete with his own kiln.

He is survived by three sisters, Marion Florence Riley, Florence May Ray and Shirley Van Ornum; brother-in-law, Barrie (Janie) Richardson; two sisters-in-law, Laurel (Ernest Lockridge) Richardson and Lucy Burger Richardson; and cousin, Marilyn Topp. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews, Benjamin (Tami) Walum, Joshua Walum, Craig (Cathy) Richardson, David (Elin) Richardson, Jan (Allen) Richert and Pam (Henry) Rivers; great-nieces and great-nephews, Akiva Walum, Shana Walum, Claire, Juliette and Allen Richert III, Madeleine, Anna and Currin Richardson, and Guthrie and Harper Richardson; and many good friends including, Jerry and Mary Kay Conley, Mark Conley, Mary Westover; Linda Drucker, Beverly Van Meter, Marvin Fellers and Barbara Shelby. John was preceded in death by his parents; wife; and two sisters, June Christine Lloyd and Delores Fuss.

The family is grateful for the loving staff at Wesley Acres, Mercy Medical Center, Mercy Hospice in Johnston and especially for his physician and longtime friend, Dr. Eden Murad.

Memorial gifts may be made to a favorite .

Online condolences may be shared at


Funeral Home

Iles Funeral Home - Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road Des Moines, IA 50322
(515) 276-4567

Published in Des Moines Register from June 22 to June 26, 2014